“We tried to help him and do as much as we could, but it didn’t work out,” Unbehaun’s sister, Darlene Kellner, said in a phone interview from South Carolina.
Defense filings say Unbehaun, a D and F student in school, spells at a first-grade level. At least while behind bars, Unbehaun was usually well-behaved and compliant, filings said. At pretrial hearings, Unbehaun sat in a wheelchair wearing orange jail garb, appearing attentive and at ease.
McLeese said mild dementia may have contributed to his client’s decision to rob his way back into prison, and he also speculated that depression or what he dubbed “soul sickness” could also have been factors.
“No matter,” he said. “It is difficult to imagine a more desolate set of circumstances than one in which the only possible alternative an individual would envision was life behind bars.”